Penn men's lacrosse kept rolling on Friday and picked up its tenth consecutive win this season, edging past Brown by a 13-12 score in the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament. Despite the tight result, the Quakers still showed they are deserving of their No. 3 national ranking. Here are three takeaways from the Red and Blue's latest win.
The offense is multi-pronged
It's hard to lose games when you have so many weapons to work with on offense. Seven different players picked up goals for the Red and Blue on Friday, including two off the bench. The typically productive duo of senior midfielder Tyler Dunn and junior attackman Adam Goldner were limited to a combined one goal against the Bears, so others didn't hesitate to step up.
Senior attackman Simon Mathias led the Quakers with four goals and three assists, and Ivy League Rookie of the Year Sam Handley added a hat-trick of his own for the top-seeded Quakers.
The depth of Penn's attacking threat makes the team that much more dangerous to opposing defenses. Having a field full of talented ball handlers and passers means there is nearly always a threat to keep an eye on. Whether it's a veteran like Goldner or Mathias, or a rookie like Handley or attackman Dylan Gergar, the Red and Blue make sure their foes have their work cut out for them.
Reed Junkin is a brick wall in goal
Penn's netminder had a standout game against the Bears, racking up 16 saves, his highest total since the team's triple-overtime win over Yale on March 30. The senior gave up just four goals in the first half, and although he allowed 12 goals, a few of them came off deflections from surrounding players.
Junkin was even more crucial on Friday, as junior face-off specialist Kyle Gallagher wasn't as successful as usual from the X. Compared to 16 of 26 wins the last time these two sides met, Gallagher only picked up 11 of 22 the second time around. This meant Junkin had to deal with more opposing possessions, a task he handled skillfully.
A crucial turning point came in the middle of the second period, when the Quakers were down a man and the score was tied at three all. Desperate to preserve the deadlock, Junkin came up with a number of memorable saves to keep the momentum on the Red and Blue's side. Soon after, the Quakers would go on a run of their own and claim a lead they wouldn't give up for the remainder of the game.
The team keeps composure under pressure
Heading into the Ivy League tournament as the No. 1 seed, few expected the Red and Blue to struggle against Brown. A tight first quarter saw both sides score three goals, and the Bears matched every move Penn made. But a 5-0 run broke the game open, and maybe the Quakers took their foot off the gas a little, allowing the Rhode Islanders to inch their way back into the contest.
With every Brown goal, the tension inside Wien Stadium grew. And as Penn's lead was slowly chipped away, the crowd could sense a possible shocker brewing. But with the Bears threatening towards the end of the game, the Red and Blue knew they had to dig in. At 13-12, the game's final face-off proved to be the most important.
Senior Richie Lenskold faced off against Matt McShea from the X, and Lenskold would emerge with possession, allowing the Quakers to hold the ball and run out the clock. Refusing to allow the momentum and upset-minded Bears get the better of them, the Red and Blue kept their cool and did just enough to prevail in the end.
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